JDI Survivor Council Member to Testify at Release of First-Ever Federal Standards Addressing Prisoner Rape

Los Angeles and Washington, DC, June 23, 2009. Just Detention International (JDI) applauds the release today of the first-ever binding national standards aimed at preventing and addressing sexual abuse in U.S. corrections facilities. Developed by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, in close collaboration with JDI, these standards represent a milestone in the effort to end sexual violence in detention. Attorney General Eric Holder now has one year to encode the standards as part of federal regulations.

“When the government removes someone’s liberty, it takes on an absolute responsibility to protect that person’s safety. Corrections facilities across the country still fail to uphold that responsibility, ” said Lovisa Stannow, Executive Director of JDI. “The Attorney General should act swiftly to enact the new standards, without diluting them. ”

JDI ensured that the experiences of prisoner rape survivors were at the center of the development of the standards, by enabling more than a dozen survivors to testify before the Commission. One of these advocates, JDI Survivor Council member Hope Hernandez will speak at the press conference launching the standards (see event details below).

“The release of today’s standards gives me hope and reaffirms my commitment to protecting the right of inmates to be free from sexual abuse, so that no one, no matter how young, vulnerable or sick, will have to go through the terrible experiences that I did, ” said Ms. Hernandez, who was raped by an officer while held at the D.C. Jail.

The national standards spell out requirements for staff training, inmate education, and sexual assault investigations. They also call for prison housing decisions to take into account whether an inmate belongs to a known vulnerable population (such as being gay, transgender or a first-time detainee). In addition, they mandate that facilities provide prisoner rape survivors with access to medical and mental health care services, even if they are too afraid to name their attackers.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Hope Hernandez or another prisoner rape survivor, please contact Lovisa Stannow at 310-617-4350 (cell). The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission’s press conference begins at 10:00 am on June 23, 2009, at the National Press Club, Holeman Lounge, 529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045. For a copy of the standards, please visit:

Just Detention International (JDI), formerly Stop Prisoner Rape, is the only organization in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to eliminating sexual abuse in detention. JDI was instrumental in securing passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003, which mandated the development of today’s standards. JDI worked closely with the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission in the development of the standards.

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